The Tragedy of Tejas

The Government doesn’t see that the commercial bonanza for foreign countries is choking off funds for home-grown aircraft

——-DEPENDING ON WHAT’S involved, legacy can be a good thing or a bad thing. In the case of the Indian state, bureaucracy, and especially the military, legacy has proved a liability. The colonial system and approach were retained in every aspect of government for want of ready alternatives and the fear of disruption. It has particularly hurt the armed services because they have stayed stuck in time. Thus, the Army’s main force is arrayed northwestward, the Air Force thinks as a tactical regional adjunct of another out-of-area air force (with the Royal Air Force missing), and the Navy imitates the attitude and outlook of the US Navy, which replaced its British counterpart, replete with a tilt towards big ships at a time when supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles and remote-controlled mini-submarines and attack boats are making them obsolete.

The three services also have in common the acute institutional hankering for Western military hardware, which was thwarted for 30 odd years (the mid-60s to mid-90s) by Cold War politics and the availability of Russian equipment in the Soviet era at ‘friendship prices’. Now that that constraint is lifted, they are reverting wherever possible to buying cost-prohibitive Western armaments with a vengeance, often at the expense of indigenously designed and developed weapon systems, such as the Arjun Main Battle Tank and Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), that have proved as good, when not better, than foreign items.

No, a kill order by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the LCA programme is not in the offing because it is advisable for the politician and the military brass to talk desi and not openly prefer firang (refer the glossy AeroIndia pullouts in newspapers). A high technology ‘prestige’ project capable of seeding a burgeoning aerospace sector in the country and imperilling imports will, however, be undermined on the sly, by restricting funds and the offtake of the indigenous on the plea that the monies are needed to finance imports of combat aircraft to meet immediate requirements, and by simultaneously diverting the attention, effort and resources of the LCA programme into the Mk-II version and the more ‘futuristic’, ‘super-stealthy’, Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft project. By insisting on stiff specifications and delivery deadlines, these programmes will be set up for eventual rejection. Meanwhile, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA)— the progenitors of the Tejas—will be thus kept occupied and out of the IAF’s hair, which will shield the service from unwanted political pressure to ‘buy Indian’ or to invest in the LCA. But we are getting ahead of the story.

The AeroIndia 2017 Air Show, that opened in Bengaluru on Valentine’s Day and ends on February 18th, features the foreign accomplices—the Swedish Saab Gripen E, the Super Hawk optimised for short-range air defence and touted in some quarters as the UK’s answer to the LCA, the French Rafale, and the American fighter planes, the Lockheed Martin ‘Block 70’ F-16 and the Boeing F-18E/F with the prospective payoffs overcoming the initial resistance from President Donald Trump. Except for the Super Hawk, these are all aircraft that had been entered in IAF’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition, won in 2012 by the Rafale. Except, new-generation warfare featuring drone-swarms and advanced air defence systems are expected to make manned fighter planes extinct.

But why the immense foreign interest? Firstly, because India is expected to buy 200-250 of the chosen plane with a full weapons suite and costing $250-$300 million each, for a total contract with only limited holdings of spares and service support of around $7.5 billion to $9 billion. Every supplier also promises to set up a modern global manufacturing and servicing hub for his aircraft and a technology innovation and industrial eco-system of small and medium scale enterprises (SMSEs) to generate employment, and, with full transfer of technology, a capacity locally to design and develop follow-on fighter aircraft. This will take many years to realise. So add another $3-4 billion to the bill for hub-development. After factoring in inflation and currency fluctuations, over the 30-40 year lifetime of the aircraft, the total take from this deal for a single-engined fighter for the winning foreign firm could be as much as $50 billion. To get perspective, this sum equals the cost of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with networks of roads and power plants stretching from Baltistan to Gwadar, which will be that state’s infrastructure and economic backbone.

Secondly, India’s track record of squandering high-cost transferred technology by the Defence Public Sector Units (DPSUs) and ordnance factories, and their never venturing beyond licence manufacture (LM) entailing Meccano-level screwdriver technology, is well known. Thus, no technologies were ingested from the MiG-21, Jaguar, and Su-30MKI LM contracts nor any design bureaus for technology innovation created. The international arms peddlers are only too aware of this situation and of the likelihood that LM agreements will inevitably lead to cascading sales of tech upgrade packages and CKD (completely knocked down) and SKD (semi-knocked down) kits to assemble the aircraft with. For the foreign supplier, it is an endlessly profitable cycle ensuring that, in real terms, at least 80 per cent of the monetary value of the contract is returned to the home country, and the remaining treated as ‘offsets’ mandated by the Indian Government that have so far produced few real benefits.

Thirdly, just as India’s buy of the Hawk trainer rescued British Aerospace, and that of 36 Rafales—with possibly another 80-100 of these planes in the pipeline—has put the French Company Dassault in the clover, New Delhi’s purchase of the Gripen will throw a lifeline to the combat aviation industry in Sweden, and Lockheed’s worn-out F-16 assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas, instead of being discarded, will be sold to India to earn revenue. Too much is at stake for the foreign companies in the race not to over-promise and under-bid. The extent of under-bidding is evidenced in Dassault’s original price for 126 Rafales of around $12 billion that actually ended up fetching the IAF a mere 36 planes. The larger pattern that has emerged over the past many decades is for an apparently ‘very rich’ India to subsidise and sustain defence industries in seemingly ‘poor’ states—namely, the United States, Russia, France, United Kingdom, France, and Israel.

The Indian defence industry has ‘largely failed to produce competitive indigenously-designed weapons’, a view the Indian military endorses. But why is this so? Principally because the armed services obstruct indigenous arms projects from succeeding

US defence sources estimate India’s military procurement outlays in the next few decades to be of the order of $250 billion. If roughly 10 per cent of any contracted deal is the usual down payment—in the Rafale case, for instance, it amounts to Rs 9,700 crore—a staggering $25 billion will have to be shelled out before a single item turns up on Indian shores. One can see why India is the consumer of choice in the international arms market.

IT IS WORRISOME that the Government, trapped in its ‘Make in India’ rhetoric, doesn’t see that the commercial bonanza for foreign countries will choke off the funds necessary for the home-grown, and for investment to build a comprehensively capable defence industry in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar appear not to have caught on to the fact that foreign arms suppliers are not in the business of making customers independent of them, but of bolting them down as dependents. Making the country a minor partner in the global supply chains of major transnational defence industrial corporations—the best that the present tilt of ‘Make in India’ policy can achieve—begs the question if this is all India should aspire to. And more, importantly, whether India will ever have the kind of financial cushion needed for $250 billion worth of military wherewithal, even as the tradeoffs between social welfare and developmental needs on the one hand and nation security demands on the other hand get starker. If such massive defence capital expenditure is somehow managed, whether frittering away the country’s wealth when it perpetuates only a hollow national security, is politically prudent. But there’s no gainsaying that it will firm up the country’s reputation as the largest arms importer in the world. India accounts for 14 per cent of the world’s arms imports, followed by China at 4.7 per cent (except China has compensated by increasing its arms exports 143 per cent in 2010-2015 to reach $1.6 billion). Put another way, over 2000-2015, India bought weapons valued at $120 billion: money that could have obtained for the country sizeable defence industrial infrastructure and skilled manpower instead of military hardware that can be ground to a stop anytime any of a host of suppliers decide for whatever reasons to withhold spares. So, not only is India’s security hostage to the interests of external players, but the country is paying exorbitantly for it too.

The reason adduced for this sorry state of affairs by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute is that the Indian defence industry has ‘largely failed to produce competitive indigenously- designed weapons’—a view the Indian military heartily endorses. But why is this so? Principally because the armed services obstruct indigenous arms projects from succeeding. The Tejas programme has progressed in fits and starts, and been delayed interminably, in the main, for two reasons. One, the Air Staff Requirements were changed numerous times on the plea of the IAF wanting an up-to-date plane. Thus, re-design and structural alterations became necessary, for example, when the IAF demanded installation of a refuelling probe after prototypes had already been built. It imposed significant time and cost penalties and hurt the delivery deadline. Two, the IAF insisted on a ‘finished product’ with all weapons trials and fitments completed and Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) and Final Operational Clearance (FOC) secured, before accepting it.

This is contrary to the procedure followed by all other major air forces. In the US, its newest joint strike fighter, the F-35, first entered squadron service with the US Air Force and the US Marines with technical refinements, structural modifications, and proper weapons and avionics integration being carried out on the basis of continuous feedback from frontline pilots after the plane’s induction. Some serious problems with the F-35, such as with the zero- zero ejection seat system, helmet-mounted sensors, avionics, and the F-135 power plant, are all being corrected even as the aircraft is flying around. This rigmarole is called ‘concurrency’, meaning induction and capability improvements happening simultaneously after the user-service has taken charge of the combat plane. In the case of the Tejas though, the onus is entirely on the development/ production unit to put in IAF’s hands a battle-ready fighter aircraft, inclusive of the promised weapons load. It reflects IAF’s reluctance to take ownership of the Tejas even after it has proved its druthers. The truly dastardly aspect is that the standard applied by the IAF to the LCA does not apply to imported aircraft. Thus, the Mirage 2000 inducted in 1985 flew unarmed for the next three years because the contracted weapons had not been delivered. It was political prompting alone that hastened the formation of the so-far-only-Tejas unit in the Air Force, the 45 Squadron with only a handful of LCAs, based in Sulur, Andhra Pradesh.

The other means adopted by IAF to undercut the Tejas programme is to order only a few aircraft at a time to deny the production units economies of scale. Thus, the official indent is just for 20 LCAs after IOC, and another 20 for post-FOC, with the possibility held out for 43 planes for a total strength of only 83 Tejas, when the actual requirement is for 200-250 single-engined combat aircraft of this type, which IAF proposes to meet by buying one of the foreign aircraft displayed at AeroIndia. This is because IAF doesn’t take pride in the LCA, or care to have it in its fleet, and also perhaps, because the Tejas programme offers no material inducements for persons in the procurement loop, such as endless trips to Paris, Stockholm, etcetera, what is risibly called ‘pocket money’, and so on. With the IAF variant of Tejas so stymied, its navalised version too will be emasculated, with the Indian Navy now joining the Air Force in opting for imported aircraft for its carriers—the navalised Rafale, Gripen, F-18, and the MiG-29K all seen at the Air Show.

Settling on licence manufacture of foreign planes serves yet another purpose. It preserves the monopoly of aircraft production for the highly inefficient DPSUs, like Hindustan Aerospace Ltd. DPSUs are controlled by the Department of Defence Production (DPP) in the MoD and is valuable turf that its bureaucrats are loath to lose, which can happen if, despite every obstacle, a project reaches the cusp of commercial success.

Tejas is a success if only it is given a chance. A 4.5-generation aircraft, like the Rafale, the LCA is far stealthier, more agile, and with a far bigger potential for growth as a versatile fighting platform. Significantly, it has clocked in excess of 3,000 flying hours without a single incident—a record unsurpassed by any combat aircraft under development anywhere, at any time. Its sleek looks and ease of handling, evident in the demonstration flights at the Bahrain Air Show last year, evinced praise from experts and enormous interest world-wide, with many countries inquiring about its availability. Naturally, fear has arisen in HAL and DPP/MoD circles that the Tejas may elicit commercial interest in the private sector, and private sector proposals for producing this aircraft for the IAF and for profit from exports, may follow. This would set a precedent of a DPSU being bypassed, of the technologies required to be transferred to a private sector consortium by the Aeronautical Development Agency and DRDO, and the diminishing of the stake and role of the public sector and DPP/MoD in the budding Indian defence industry of the future.

It is an end-state the IAF-DPP/MoD-DPSU complex will not abide, and what it doesn’t want, it will do away with. It has a stellar record of success in eliminating inconvenient indigenous conventional armaments projects that threaten its vested interests, usually by ‘throttling them in the cradle’. In the late-70s, the Mk-II version of the Marut HF-24 multi-role fighter was terminated by the Indira Gandhi regime siding with the IAF to buy the Jaguar low level strike aircraft. The original Marut was designed by one of the greatest designers of the World War II-era, Dr Kurt Tank of Focke-Wulfe fame, who was imaginatively brought in by Jawaharlal Nehru to design and produce the first supersonic fighter outside of the US and Europe. Tank had a prototype flying by 1961, inside of six years of his getting the commission.

Tank’s most gifted Indian protégé, Raj Mahindra, designed the Mk-II, which was eliminated by the Jaguar buy, whence began India’s rapid slide towards an all imported Air Force. If Mahindra’s Marut successor aircraft was killed by jhatka, the Tejas will be bled slowly, killed by the halaal method.


Published in Open Magazine, dated Feb 17, 2017, at





About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in arms exports, Asian geopolitics, civil-military relations, corruption, Culture, Decision-making, Defence Industry, DRDO, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian ecobomic situation, Indian Navy, Indian Ocean, Indian Politics, Israel, Military Acquisitions, Military/military advice, Missiles, Relations with Russia, Russia, russian assistance, SAARC, society, South Asia, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer, United States, US., Weapons, West Asia, Western militaries. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to The Tragedy of Tejas

  1. Tragedy indeed but packaged as Make In India by our evangelists-in-chief.

    More than IAF the Navy’s refusal is a tragedy that feels like stab in the back. One wonders what stopped parallel dev on MK2 with bigger engine over last 10 years or simultaneous dev on Navy and Air force prototypes or even an airframe with Canards just to test in real life.

    We have plenty of money for Rafale to spare..

  2. Shaurya says:

    Bharat: Think the numbers above for Tejas are a little off. It is 20 in IOC config, 20 in FOC config for Mk I and then another 83 in Mk IA for a total of 123. These are to be delivered through HAL which has one plant with a capacity to produce 8 per year, another converted which will add about 3 per year and one more sanctioned to build 8 per year. When all ramped up, we are looking at 19 per year and maybe more with optimizations. Manohar Parikkar is pushing hard on HAL to outsource as much as possible to private industry.

    We should be thankful to RM MP to push this through the way he has. Were it not for his intervention, the Tejas would have been dead. Look at the way, he is still keeping NLCA Mk2 alive for the IN.

    A lot of the pain we are seeing is due to the lost 10 years of misgovernance of the UPA and yes, the IAF left to their own devices probably would not touch the Tejas. They simply are not bought into local industry, especially not the DPSU’s.

  3. andy says:

    Bharat hats off to this one.You sir are a man after my own heart,the whole khichadi that the Indian army and IAF had cooked up regarding the Arjun MBT and especially the Tejas LCA respectively ,has been laid bare and how.

    It is indeed a sad state of affairs that a few shameless and corrupt individuals , who weild immense power,can cause such irreparable damage to the national cause by undermining such important developmental programs.The Tejas could be a transformative step for the Indian aerospace industry as could the MBT Arjun, but look how shabbily these two have been treated, its beyond comprehension how low people are willing to stoop for money and to hell with the national cause.Such low lifes need to be strung up from the nearest tree.

  4. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Whoever decided to make LCA small knew well how to sabotage its future. After that the relay race was kept up by the saboteurs, tag teaming along the way.

    Much the same has already begun happening to AMCA. Nearly no technology that was to be developed from the scratch (without there being any need for evolutionary development), was ever started. Result, AMCA will come in, again only as a Technology Demonstrator and only after the F-35 line is folded up and then we will have our senior air force officers and MoD telling us how it is wiser to order F-35 because ADA did not do it and how the F-35 line is the best thing we can do to Indian aviation.

    • Received from Cohan Sujay Carlos, Aiaioo Labs, Feb 18, 2017 via email, reproduced below:
      I loved your article on how the government is not seizing a very obvious opportunity in betting big on the Tejas (or more generally, on Indian manufacture).

      I have been informed by a friend in the know (who was an HAL contractor) that the processes at HAL are another major problem preventing the productionising of Tejas.

      HAL uses a process wherein the tender is awarded to the lowest bidder. This leads to people with no experience in the milling of titanium parts bidding for the jobs at very low prices, and later realizing they can’t do it, and returning the materials (after a long period of time) sometimes in a rather mangled form.

      Other aerospace firms like Dassault take the time to do price discovery, and then use price bands for their tenders. So if someone bids too low, they ask them to explain how they plan to do the job that cheaply and only offer that person the job if they are convinced the person has the ability to do it. Western firms outsourcing to Indian firms also apparently place a monitor on site till there is no possibility of hitches arising. A simple process change like that might solve a lot of problems at HAL from what I hear. Apparently, similar issues at BARC are also leading to foreign reactor suppliers winning contracts even though local reactor technology is pretty good. But of course, I agree with you that if the orders placed are for as few 20 planes, there is no way HAL can get good suppliers to agree to work with them.

      Thank you,

      Cohan Sujay Carlos
      Aiaioo Labs, +91-77605-80015,

      • &^%$#@! says:

        In general, you are certainly correct about the lowest bidder policy, and its fostering of third-rate equipment and services and have correctly cited the case of HAL. I would like to add DRDO to that list. However. foreign nuclear reactor vendors are not winning contracts because of any shortfalls in the procurement process of BARC. In fact, perhaps barring a few highly specialized equipment and some fundamental facets of reactor design, BARC has nothing to do with the construction of civilian nuclear power plants. That comes within the ambit of the NPCIL. Till date, all key components for the highly successful and safe INDU PHWR design have been outsourced to private industry (for eg. L&T for calendrias, end shields, steam generators,….., WIL for construction,…..). The heavy water for these reactors comes from plants that come under the Heavy Water Board.

        The reasons for foreign nuclear reactor vendors entering the Indian market is the odious IUCNA signed by the UPA, and enthusiastically supported by the current government to the extent that Acts of Parliament concerning liability are overridden by Executive Orders of dubious legality. Incidentally, one of the bogus arguments employed in pushing through the IUCNA was the deliberate misrepresentation of the natural Uranium reserves in India.

  5. Avtar Singh says:

    It is indeed a great pity that PM Modi Ji is not indeed “maut ki saudagar”…
    have I got that bit right.. certain areas require it, if not all areas

    Indian armed forces need to be culled in every branch… anyone above Group Captain/equivalent
    level should be sent home… pasture all the air ranks
    The LCA has been a stupendous achievement, none have crashed unlike grippen..
    with which the ACM was seen grinning like a chesire cat enjoying his sojourn in the advanced Best

    But when the PM will not cull the bureaucracy but instead give them a pay rise, fat chance of any change. May be in his second term he may be bolder, after all he has many enemies gunning
    for him

  6. Maestro says:

    The irony is that PAF inducts its 5 sqd of JF17 following american system of taking feedback, building on blocks. steadily increasing its strength in numbers. IAF on the other hand not only wants foreign maal, but the variety of platforms is just horrendous. IAF needs to be taught about standardization.

  7. Viv S says:

    While ordinarily I’d agree on the ridiculousness of this plan to buy the F-16/Gripen, the absurdity of terming local assembly as ‘Make-in-India’ and the general step-motherly treatment meted out to domestic equipment, this article still rings hollow given that Mr Karnad seeks to paper over the MoD’s lack of even-handedness when the Russians are the beneficiaries.

    Case-in-point: “…reverting wherever possible to buying cost-prohibitive Western armaments with a vengeance, often at the expense of indigenously designed and developed weapon systems, such as the Arjun Main Battle Tank…”

    To the best of my knowledge, the Arjun was passed over in favour of a Russian tank not a western one. This despite beating the T-90 in head-to-head trials. (A natural consequence, perhaps, of the millions in payoffs to middlemen made by Rosoboronexport & Co?)

    Meanwhile, there’s a curious lack of mention of the third prominent Indian product being given the shaft by the MoD i.e. the HAL LUH. Half of its prospective order-book has been gifted away to the Ka-226. Literally gifted away. Didn’t even have to contest the EC Fennec on cost.

    But since its Russian, I expect Mr Karnad to remain silent on the matter. Or am I mistaken?

    • Viv@ — If you peruse just my last post (on defence budget where I excoriated the army for importing T-90 tanks at the expense of the Arjun MBT) and my other posts in the Russia section of this blog you’ll see that I have been equally harsh on Russian hardware imports. I have, however, been mindful, as every one should be, of Russia’s assistance over the years in the most critical strategic technology areas (SSBN, missiles, etc), that the West didn’t care to be, and won’t in the future be, within sniffing distance of doing. So let’s have some perspective here. Gratitude need not translate into a supine attitude, but it shouldn’t be disregarded either.

      You make an arguably better case with the LUH. But even here, the problem is scale and capacity problem. HAL does not have the wherewithal for increasing production of the LUH but, dog-in-the- manger like, is unwilling to transfer, as in the case of LCA, the indigenous design and tech to Indian private sector to meet the demand.

  8. Raahul says:

    The answer is simple, cancel the Rafale and the proposed Gripen/F-16 deal, and concentrate all funds on the Kaveri engine/ Tejas and MCA. What is the kind of pressure it will take to force the government to follow through on its own rhetoric of “Make NEVER In India”. Why are we donating billions of dollars to rich countries?

  9. Venkat says:

    Let us be honest. We imported a lot of stuff from 70s since we got them cheap and we did not have industrial base. Let hs look at the positives, since then Successive governments continued to local technology , it has taken its time. I see more and more of local stuff every successive RD parade. This government seems to be ensuring those years of hard work are not forgotten , in fact is pushing for fruits to be plucked, correct if there is a mistake below

    1. Rifles : lots of trials of all calibers. Now looks like OFB developed Ghatak 7.62×51 mm will emerge sooner than later .
    2. Helmets , BPJ : finally deal,signed with local vendor.
    3. Artillery : after so many decades , army decided local was the best. We see the results in Dhanush & ATAGS. Should be productised starting 2019.
    4. Light helicopters : so any trials, now we have LUH flying. Should start production in another 2-3 years
    5 Attack helicopters : after living with 2-3 squadrons our armed forces are spoilt for choice , Rudra & LCJ. However they need to be proactive to specify weapon systems. With thus induction , the corps will have genuine force multipliers.
    6. Submarines : successive government pursued local build, it was delayed now we competence to build diesel & nuke submarines.
    7. Heavy duty torpedos for ships : done
    8 . HTT : the Pilatus were emergency purchases ( HPT-32 were a disaster, we cannot send our pilots to,pakistan or china for ab initio training !) . Hope fully it clears are all tests quickly .
    10. Rockets & missiles : we are there
    11. Light AEW& C : nethra iis inducted.
    12. All heavy duty trucks are now tata/ashok leyland.

    Of course we can list all delays and muck ups : Nirbhay , IJT, nag, torpedos fir submarines……..these seem to be reducing , accountability seems to be increasing.
    LCA is some where at the pain point of maximum expectation and don’t give time for ecosystem build up. This is so much necessary to manufacture. This art gas been mastered by US, Europe, russua and China.

  10. raja says:

    resp sir,
    Its time a good private player should join hands with LCA company and market it for the world. A good product will always find takers.

  11. &^%$#@! says:

    Instead of procuring Russian jets (more SU-30 MKI, Super 30 upgrade,…) and giving a massive impetus to the very fine LCA and its follow up’s + the Arjun MBT (which is truly very good), the GoI is going in for Russian tanks and US/French/Swedish jets. This is clearly an absence of vision and priorities, and something tells me it is deliberate.

  12. &^%$#@! says:

    @BK: Is it true that the Prahaar and Pragati SSM’s have been deprioritized? If so, it is shameful. There’s nothing out there that can remotely match these systems, with the possible exception of the US AGM-140 ATACMS..

  13. &^%$#@! says:

    From what one can glean, ACM Dhanoa seems to be a pleasant departure from his predecessors. He is said to be down to earth, and flies sorties solo:

    It is shocking to hear that ACM Dhanoa is the first IAF Chief in 16 years (since Tipnis) to actually fly solo:

    In addition, thankfully he has not been endowed by the MSM with the title of “fighter/air ace” like Charlie Browne and Raha, or “war hero” like Tyagi.

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

      Be careful about what you ask for lest you actually are granted your wishes. With our establishment the only skill they ever learnt was to write compensatory import manifest.

      May be they think they will become the royal customer in this game of weapons deployment and power projection. Get pampered by both sides.

      What they don’t want to acknowledge is that there is no hope, in this game for anybody who does not controls his IPR. And India has got nearly Nil IPR – exactly on account of the stupid establishment we have got. Acknowledging the centrality of IPR ownership would end up exposing their own past record of omissions and commissions. 😀

      Instead of getting the best of both worlds they will end up yoking the country to the worst of both.

      So be careful for what you ask for. There is no real need for a ‘Medium’ anything. Not even for medium AMCA. The AMCA is most likely medium solely because somebody high up wants to repeat the well thought out plan to force miniaturization which will off course mean going to the West. Don’t forget this was the exact route to sabotaging the LCA. Net result the LCA was held up for things like refueling probe etc.

  14. &^%$#@! says:

    CABS/LRDE/…. did a very good job in systems integrating the AESA radar and other sensors to the Embraer jet (the Netra AEW&C):

    Granted, the Uttam AESA radar has a tested A2A range of only 100 Kms. But there is not cause for needless worry, because improved digital beamforming could easily extend this to 150+ Kms. This is an easy-to-read article on the use of FPGA’s in digital beamforming:

    What surprises me is that the US is poking its nose into allegations of bribery in the Embraer deal, which is strictly an Indo-Brazilian affair:

    It is known that the US wants to scuttle this program (along with the radar) and introduce its Boeing based solution which will be as useless as the P-8I’s. The Modi regime needs to muster up some self respect and tell the US where to get off.

  15. Sam says:

    Its been 30 years since the Indian Navy approached DRDO for a replacement for Sea Harrier.
    Till date the arrestor hook has not been successfuly qualified and fitted on the aircraft.

    Hand over the programme to the Indian Navy and see results such as the submarine programme or the ship building projects.

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

      The project that is in need of the arrestor hook ie. the LCA is with the Navy now, headed by a Naval Officer.

      And the Submarine that was successful was not with the Navy, even though they wanted to head it. In recent history, the navy has kept itself busy, not having to decide, on the technical stuff that goes into making a submarine and carry on with its infighting instead.

      In any case Navy has experience in only the hull design float category. Nothing in the fight category or move category. If the Indian Navy is really keen on paying more than a mere lip service to indigenisation, let them take on the KMGT challenge, which is suffering at the last mile and the next likely candidate for the technology demonstrator assassination. KMGT will not even require big money.

  16. sakthivel says:

    LCA AF Mk2 has the following improvements,

    1.Possible chine and strakes,
    2.Optimized fuselage geometry,
    3.Refined canopy design,
    4. 0.5m fuselage lengthening

    These will reducing drag and improve performance.

    Combined with extra fuel, payload, thrust & avionics improvements, it will be better than F-16 in many ways , at a lesser cost.

    Also it can be continuously improved, without any one’s permission. Not possible with end of the lifecycle F-16.

    IAF is surprisingly “shy” of supporting this Tejas mk2 effort. God knows Why?

    With most of its budget geared towards FGFA & rafale buys, tejas mk2 is the only cost effective alternative for IAF to reach its sactioned 42 squadron strenght.

    FOC is almost done, Only subassemblies like Gun, AESA BVR combo needs fine tuning.

    All matters related with the fighter aerodynamics are done & dusted.

    As time goes by we can make tejas even 100% indigenous with proposed french JV for kaveri.

    but F-16 is always an American albatross tied to IAF’s neck.

    And the prospect of stealthy tejas mk3 is even more exciting , given the long gestation time envisaged for AMCA

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